A while back we were give a whole box full of old rusty lanterns by a friend of ours. Love it when that happens 🙂 We managed to repurposed bits and pieces and made some enamel cup lanterns for our holiday home. We even turned two of them into charming lantern planters and filled them with succulents. Here’s the thing though. I really, really wanted to hang them from an antique pulley.
But those things are as scarce as hen’s teeth here and if you do find them, they’re way over our budget. No ways am I spending so much money on something that’s going to be used as décor in the garden. Nope not going to happen. So I had to figure out a way to make my own. And I love how it turned out.
The antique pulley looks like it’s been doing some heavy lifting for a few years. And it’s such a simple concept too. All you need is a grooved wheel or sheave and some kind of casing.
Making a Faux Antique Pulley
I must admit I had to dig around quite a bit to find something that would act as a grooved wheel. We don’t have a lathe so making one from scratch wasn’t really an option. What I did find though was this little wheel thingy here.
That’s the wheel that normally sits under an electric gate, something that’s quite common here in South Africa. In the larger cities we all live behind 6 foot walls and have a remote controlled electric gate. It’s much safer than the ones you have to open by hand. Nobody wants to leave their car running while they try and open a gate, that’s like putting up a neon sign and saying “Come hijack me”. Sad I know, but that’s what it is.
Okay lets get back to that faux antique pulley. Since I had a grooved wheel all I needed to do was make a casing or frame to house the wheel. Pretty easy, just cut two sides and a top bit. The top gets screwed onto the the top of the electric gate motor wheel and then the sides are glued and screwed on.
After staining the wood casing and adding old railway bolts on either side we had our very own, faux antique pulley.
So perfect for hanging those lantern planters.
Old lanterns are pretty easy to convert into planters too. You just have to make sure to remove any oily residue first. You don’t want that stuff seeping into the soil and harming your plants.
Cleaning the Lanterns for Planting
First off remove the chimney, wick and cap on the oil reservoir. If there’s still oil inside dispose of it safely. Never pour old oil down the drain or toilet.
Mix a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with really hot water. Add the mixture to the reservoir and use a bottle brush to scrub the inside of the reservoir and get rid of any tough deposits. Pour the water out and fill the reservoir up again. Let the soapy mixture sit in the reservoir overnight and rinse with hot water the next day. Once the reservoir is nice and clean, your lanterns should be safe for planting.
Our lanterns were a bit rusty and I was worried that the little stones needed for drainage would fall through the holes so I added some shade cloth on the inside first.
Before planting the succulents we sprayed the outside of the lanterns a lovely bronze color that contains a rust inhibitor.
I normally don’t mind a little bit of rust, but I want these lantern planters to last a few seasons before they disintegrate completely 😉 I’d love to know what you think. Do you love old pulleys too?
And if you like the idea please don’t forget to share.
Oh and just in case you want to make your own antique pulley I’ve added a few affiliate links below. That way you won’t have to try find the materials we used. Disclosure: If you click on the links, we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry, it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more unique DIY and craft tutorials for you 😉